Fencıng Pak-Afghan Border for Natıonal Securıty of Pakıstan

Article

Border security ensures sustainable development of a state. Pakistan has the longest border with Afghanistan known as “Durand Line.“ The borderland is rugged, mountainous and porous unable to control the transition of people across the frontier. Both countries are having a history of strained relations but in the past forty years, there were two mass migrations of Afghan people to Pakistan....

Dr. Imrana BEGUM
Assistant Professor
Humanities Department
NED University of Engineering & Technology Karachi, Pakistan.

Abstract

Border security ensures sustainable development of a state. Pakistan has the longest border with Afghanistan known as “Durand Line.“ The borderland is rugged, mountainous and porous unable to control the transition of people across the frontier. Both countries are having a history of strained relations but in the past forty years, there were two mass migrations of Afghan people to Pakistan. First in the decade of 1980s during Soviet occupation to Afghanistan about 4 million Afghans crossed their eastern border and entered into Pakistan. The Soviet Union withdrew their forces in 1989 however; Afghan refugees continued their stay in Pakistan owing to the civil war in their country. The second largest influx of immigrants came in Pakistan in October 2001, after the US initiative to begin an “Operation Enduring Freedom“ in Afghanistan to eliminate terrorism after September 11 incident. Against whom the operation began, they took the advantage of landscape crossed the border and got refugee in the borderland. The 18 years-long presence of foreign troops did not eradicate terrorism rather it spilled over Pakistan. Islamabad and Kabul accused each other of supporting terrorist groups. After a worst terrorist attack at a school in Pakistan it was decided to repatriate Afghan refugees, erect fence along Pak-Afghan border for the national security of Pakistan.

The paper deals with the insecurity of Pak-Afghan border, focuses on the illegal mass migration of Afghan people to Pakistan. It synthesizes that how refugee crisis increased criminal activities, penetrated drug culture and acts of terrorism in Pakistan’s society. It answers why Pakistan decided to repatriate Afghan refugees? The paper also vindicates Pakistan’s decision to erect fence on the borderland? It further deals with the significance of fencing Pak-Afghan border for regional peace and stability.

Keywords: Security, Refugees, Repatriation, Migration, Terrorism


Introduction

The Afghans got refugees in Pakistan in the aftermath of Soviet occupation. In Afghanistan, since the past four decades there is a continual war and insecurity due to which the refugees preferred to continue their stay in Pakistan. Although Pakistan is not under any national or international liability i.e. the “UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees“, but provided refugee to Afghans on the basis of humanitarian grounds and accommodated the world largest number of refugees during 1980s. Their unexpected prolong stay developed social, political and economic complexities in Pakistan. After the 9/11 incident, the global perception towards refugees was changed. Pakistan did not accept more refugees but the porous border was the main hurdle to prevent their inflow. A tripartite agreement signed in 2003 among UNHCR, Pakistan and Afghanistan for the repatriation of refugees but it remains slow due to the lack of basic facilities in Afghanistan. However, after a worst terrorist attack to a school in Pakistan in 2014, proper planning was made by the government of Pakistan to avoid such incidents in future. It was decided that the refugees would be repatriated and a six months deadline was given to them. The deadlines have been extended after the expiry of the previous one. Another initiative has also been taken by the government of Pakistan to avert the illegal migration and eradicates terrorism. The military of Pakistan decided to erect fence along Durand Line, a security measure that would restore peace in both countries. There are various development projects launched by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank which are associated with the peace in Afghanistan.


National Security

The International encyclopedia of the social sciences describes National security as “the ability of a nation to protect its internal values from external threats.“ National security deals with protection from physical assault and in that sense is similar to the term defense. However, national security also denotes protection through a variety of means. It includes the security of the fundamental values and core interests necessary to the continued existence and vitality of the state.1

National security is connected to the well-being of the people of a nation. It embraces elements of both military and non-military nature. National security is best defined by Charles Maier, a Professor of History at Harvard University as “the capacity to control those domestic and foreign conditions that the public opinion of a given community believes necessary to enjoy its own self-determination or autonomy, prosperity, and well-being.“2 Apart from protection against military attack National Security also takes in non-military dimensions including economic security, energy security, environmental security, food security, cyber security, border security, security from terrorism etc.

The National Security of Pakistan has been threatened due to the insecurity of Pak-Afghan border which spilt acts of terrorism on Pakistan’s soil.


Pak-Afghan border insecurity

A country is blessed if it has secured borders. In pursuant of the UN Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001), border security is vital to the effective implementation of law against illegal migration, counter-terrorism and illegal cross-border movement of goods and cargo.3 The long, mountainous and porous borders impales states against unlawful activates and also attract refugees whenever a crisis or a war is fought in that state. Pakistan’s western border connects it with Afghanistan and the border is called Durand line which is the longest (2.600 km), mountainous, porous and the most insecure border of Pakistan.4 Across the border lives same ethnic, religious and tribal people who speak same language and have kinship relations. This feature made across the border movement easier. Since last forty years Durand Line remained unable to control the migration of Afghan people and huge influx of refugees. The dynamics in the borderland turned after the development of new militant ideological movements. These religious and political movements have threatened peace and security in Pakistan and Afghanistan as these movements introduced new practices of extremism and violent radicalism.

It is taken from TASAM Publishing's book named “New World Architecture Of Economy and Security“
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